The Jan. 6th rioter photographed kicking his foot up on a desk in then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office wants to overturn his convictions on charges that could put him away for 46 years.
Among the many arguments in his motion for an acquittal, Richard “Bigo” Barnett claims that the 950,000-volt stun gun seen at his hip was “non-dangerous.”
The packaging for that weapon, a Zap Hike N’ Strike, was found inside Barnett’s home in Gravette, Arkansas, authorities said. Prosecutors performed a demonstration of the weapon for the jury at his recent trial.
Barnett’s lawyers — Jonathan Gross, Joseph McBride, Bradford Geyer, and Carolyn Stewart — claim that those demonstrations for the jury were improper.
“The Zap Hike N Strike is a walking stick, flashlight, and defensive stun device,” they wrote in a 45-page motion for an acquittal on Sunday. “It was not designed for and is not sold for offensive use. It is not a weapon. It is largely used by hikers, and for defense against animals. The sound provides a powerful deterrent. The packaging contains no age requirement for use.”
The defense motion claims that prosecutors “deliberately demonstrated a Zap Hike ‘N Strike for five seconds to misrepresent the non-dangerous item and to unfairly scare the jury with the sound.”
The attorneys also object to prosecutors calling the Zap Hike N Strike a “deadly weapon” during closing arguments, insisting it “lacks lethal capability.”
After he left the Capitol, Barnett hardly spoke of non-violence and self-defense in an interview, where he brandished an envelope pilfered from the California Democrat’s office.
“I did not steal it,” Barnett boasted to a YouTuber. “I bled on it because they were macing me and I couldn’t f—— see so I figured I am in her office. I got blood on her office. I put a quarter on her desk even though she ain’t f—— worth it. And I left her a note on her desk that says ‘Nancy, Bigo was here, you b—-.’”
Only one of the eight counts against Barnett charges him with entering and remaining inside restricted grounds with a dangerous or deadly weapon. He was also charged and convicted of civil disorder, obstructing an official proceeding, theft of government property and multiple misdemeanors associated with his entering the Capitol.
The civil disorder count punishes “any act to obstruct, impede, or interfere with” a law enforcement officer, which prosecutors said that Barnett did by “brandishing” the stun gun in front of a Metropolitan Police Department officer.
“The new world of January 6 jurisprudence was afire during the trial with new January 6 English meanings of words such as ‘brandishing,'” the defense motion claims.
In a video shown to the jury, Barnett appears to threaten one officer after leaving Pelosi’s office by stating: “Don’t be on the wrong side. You’re going to get hurt.”
Another showed him yelling at officers: “A state senator’s who gave me that flag. It’s in that b—’s office, Nancy Pelosi. […] It’s got my blood on it,” without censoring the sexist slur.
The flag, Barnett said at the time, was on a “steel pipe — for antifa,” in an apparent reference to attacking antifascist activists.
Barnett’s defense attorneys, however, cast their client as one of the “non-violent protesters” unjustly targeted “American citizens that President Biden classifies as ‘MAGA Republicans.'”
“When Washington, D.C. and dozens of other American cities burned in the spring and summer of 2020 during the season of Black Lives Matter riots, the government did not charge hundreds of non-violent protestors with Section 231(a)(3),” the defense attorneys wrote in a footnote, referring to the civil disorder statute. “The only case identified in this Court where a non-violent protestor was charged with violating Section 231(a)(3) is the case of Abbie Hoffman when he was charged “for erecting a barricade to obstruct police during the 1971 May Day protests.”
Hoffman, the Yippie activist and author of “Steal This Book,” was charged with civil disorder in the trial of the anti-war activists known as the Chicago Seven. His convictions were overturned on appeal.
A motion for a judgment of acquittal is a routinely filed, yet rarely granted, form of attacking a jury’s verdict. Trial judges tend to respect the decisions of the juries. Any appeal would go before the D.C. Circuit.
Read Barnett’s motion for a judgment of acquittal below:
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